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Obama supports Biden after 'chains' remark

August 15, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli
  • Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a Virginia Tech campaign stop in Blacksburg, Va.
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a Virginia Tech campaign stop in Blacksburg,… (Sam Dean / The Roanoke Times…)

President Obama dismissed Republican claims that Vice President Joe Biden had a nefarious intent when he said the GOP would “put y’all back in chains” at a campaign stop in Virginia on Tuesday, telling People magazine in an interview his remarks had to be considered in context.

Rather than being about “division and hate and anger,” as Mitt Romney said of Biden’s remarks, the president said his running mate was saying only that "you, consumers, the American people, will be a lot worse off if we repeal these [Wall Street reform] laws, as the other side is suggesting."

"In no sense was he trying to connote something other than that," Obama told the magazine during an interview in Iowa, where he’s been campaigning this week.

Aides to the vice president, and later Biden himself, said he simply misspoke when he talked about Romney’s intention to “unchain Wall Street,” and quickly added: “They’re gonna put y’all back in chains.”

At his second event Tuesday, Biden said he meant to use the word “unshackled,” one that Republicans have used when discussing regulatory reform.

The Obama campaign stood by the vice president again Wednesday. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that he was using a metaphor, “talking about Wall Street reform and the fact that we can’t let Republicans defund it.”

“We know that’s what he meant, the president knows what he meant, the vice president knows what he meant,” Psaki said.

Obama told People that he hadn’t spoken with Biden about the remark, and that when he did, it was not necessarily going to come up.

"Joe Biden has been an outstanding vice president. He is passionate about what's happening in middle-class families," he said. "So I will be talking to him a whole lot about the campaign generally."

The two are scheduled to hold multiple meetings together at the White House on Thursday, including their regular one-on-one lunch.

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michael.memoli@latimes.com

Twitter: @mikememoli

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